I’m sure you know that Jesus didn’t come just to reveal God to a small group of people. He expected (and still expects) His followers to continue what He did and taught after He ascended to heaven—that’s why He commanded them to wait for the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has continued Jesus’s ministry by indwelling His followers and giving us power and the ability to be His witnesses, beginning in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and expanding to the end of the earth (Acts 1:8).
Shortly after Peter’s first sermon, He and John were arrested by the priests and Sadducees for preaching about Jesus’s resurrection. In responding to their questioning Peter answered, “Jesus is the stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone” (Acts 4:11). What exactly does this mean?
Jesus is the stone the builders (Jews) rejected. Isaiah 28:16 says, “Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation; whoever believes will not act hastily (be destroyed). Unfortunately most of the Jews stumbled over Jesus; He was a “stumbling stone and rock of offense” to them (Romans 9:33).
A cornerstone is the stone at the corner of a building which unites two intersecting walls. I believe the two intersecting walls are the Jews and the Gentiles. As the chief cornerstone, Jesus is indispensable and fundamental; He marks the origin of the building. In Ephesians 2:19-21 Paul is speaking to Gentiles. He says, “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord.” Each believer is a small piece of the building and has been compactly organized and closely joined together. The building isn’t finished yet; as people come to Christ, the holy temple enlarges. If each person gives their supply and does their part, the body (building) will continue to grow (Ephesians 4:16).
Each individual believer is a building or temple of God also (1 Corinthians 6:19). We need to be rooted and built up in Him (Colossians 2:7) otherwise our building will only look good on the outside. The paint may be pretty and the windows may sparkle, but if our foundation is not Christ, our building is on the sand and when the storms come, it will fall (Matthew 7:26-27).
I’ve heard some say that we shouldn’t try to evangelize Jews because their blindness in part has happened until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25). I don’t agree with that. When Jesus told His disciples they would be His witnesses, He included Jerusalem also. Gentiles haven’t replaced the Jews as God’s chosen people, we’ve been included in God’s new and better covenant.
We need to allow God to “fit us together” with both Jewish and other ethnic groups of Gentile believers. God doesn’t have separate buildings for Asians, Caucasians, Hispanics and Africans; we are all part of the same temple. At times I have been hesitant to befriend people of other ethnic groups as I assume they are deeply steeped in their native religion. We need to remember that God loves them and He can open their eyes and hearts to receive Jesus—if only we dare to tell them the Good News. Be strong and courageous in the Lord!